Identification and discrimination of rise time: Is it categorical or noncategorical?

Diane Kewley-Port, David B. Pisoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations


Previous studies have reported that rise time of sawtooth waveforms may be discriminated in either a categorical-like manner under some experimental conditions or according to Weber's law under other conditions. In the present experiments, rise time discrimination was examined with two experimental procedures: the traditional labeling and ABX tasks used in speech perception studies and an adaptive tracking procedure used in psychophysical studies. Rise time varied from 0 to 80 ms in 10-ms intervals for sawtooth signals of 1-s duration. Discrimination functions for subjects who simply discriminated the signals on any basis whatsoever as well as functions for subjects who practiced labeling the endpoint stimuli as 'pluck' and 'bow' before ABX discrimination were not categorical in the ABX task. In the adaptive tracking procedure, the Weber fraction obtained from the jnds of rise time was found to be a constant above 20-ms rise time. The results from the two discrimination paradigms were then compared by predicting a jnd for rise time from the ABX discrimination data by reference to the underlying psychometric function. Using this method of analysis, discrimination results from previous studies were shown to be quite similar to the discrimination results observed in this study. Taken together the results demonstrate clearly that rise time discrimination of sawtooth signals follows predictions derived from Weber's law.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1168-1176
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics

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